Ethics: Beth Moore Unexpectedly Guest Preaches Sunday Morning

What would you do Wednesday!

Popular Southern Baptist author Beth Moore recently preached at Passion City Church on Sunday morning. The video of Beth Moore preaching at Passion City Church is still online. In light of her recent sermon – let’s consider how you might react if Beth Moore were to unexpectedly preach at your church on Sunday morning.

The scenario.

Your church has advertised for the past two months that Beth Moore is visiting soon to lead a Sunday School class. She is visiting to teach, promote a book, answer questions, etc. Several of your friends hear that Moore is coming to your church and make plans to attend worship with you on that particular morning.

A week before Moore’s visit your pastor announces that something special is planned after her Sunday School class. However, that something is a secret until next Sunday morning.

It’s Sunday morning and Moore has just finished teaching Sunday School. Corporate worship begins. Your pastor steps up to the pulpit to begin the sermon – or so you think. Instead, he announces he will honor Beth Moore’s visit and give the congregation a special treat by having her preach the morning message.

How would you react?

  • Get up an leave.
  • Get up, grab your visiting friends, and leave.
  • Stay out of respect, but talk to your pastor later.
  • Stand up and loudly read 1 Timothy 2:12 several times.
  • Or…

tagged as , in Christianity,Church Issues,Culture

{ 41 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Chris Roberts September 19, 2012 at 10:25 am

I would be very strongly inclined to get up and leave, especially if I had my family with me, and talk with the pastor later. There are times when I’ve sat under women preachers, but always in settings where I knew what I was in for. In the context of the local church, it shouldn’t happen.

2 Dwight McKissic September 19, 2012 at 10:39 am

I would stay and be blessed by her message. I would thank my pastor for being true to the Bible and affirming the gifts of women. I would also put an extra $500 in the offering plate as a symbol of gratitude to God for the progress the evangelical church is making in affirming the gifts of women.


3 Andrew Wencl September 19, 2012 at 10:45 am


I’d be interested to see your rationale for supporting a preaching ministry for women.

4 Chris Roberts September 19, 2012 at 10:54 am


First, I’m jealous to hear of pastors who can afford to drop $500 in the plate on a whim!

Second, I can respect offering a tithe out of gratitude for the work of the church, but it would also leave an impression of incentivizing a particular agenda: do this, and your church will prosper. I think we would both encourage churches not to pursue a particular path because of the potential payoff involved.

5 Dwight McKissic September 19, 2012 at 10:57 am


Send me your email and I will send you my position statements on women in ministry. My email is

Chris, to walk out on Beth Moore would be similar to walking out on a preacher/teacher because of their race. I recognize that you would say it would be because of your interpretation of certain biblical text, but these text have been historically interpreted by sexist and chauvinist that put their spin on it in a society given to sexism. For years, certain text were given a racist interpretation, until eventually they had to give way to truth. I’m convinced that “truth is marching on” as evidenced by Beth Moore preaching at the aforementioned church.


6 Chris Roberts September 19, 2012 at 11:00 am


Comparing this to the race issue is similar to comparing homosexuality to the race issue: the comparison is not there. It doesn’t work. The Bible is clear on all counts. It grieves me how the evangelical church is increasingly willing to distort the Word by trying to say that the Bible does not say what it clearly says.

7 Dwight McKissic September 19, 2012 at 11:01 am


I believe in putting my money where my mouth is. I would not be giving on a whim. I would be giving to advance the Kingdom of God in support of what He said He would do in the last days: “pour out His Spirit on all flesh, and your…daughters would prophesy.”

8 Chris Roberts September 19, 2012 at 11:04 am

No verse stands alone. Passages of that sort must be understood alongside other texts which say in plain and simple language that women are not to lead men, women are not to be the teachers in the church, and the qualifications of leadership in the church always presume a male leader. I could go on, but we’ve run through this debate enough times to know it wouldn’t really be fruitful to do again.

9 Dwight McKissic September 19, 2012 at 11:06 am

We will simply agree to disagree on the appropiateness(sp) of the comparison. I once felt and belive the way you do about women preachers, so I do understand. I now realize that I was driven by traditionalism and sexism. I repented and changed after doing a serious Bible study on this issue.

10 John Strickland September 19, 2012 at 11:07 am

Agreed, Chris. It is unfortunate that people would rather have socially “acceptable” positions than surrender their social sensitivities to the timeless authority Scripture.

11 Dwight McKissic September 19, 2012 at 11:26 am

Chris, are you implying that that verse does not predict that women would “prophesy” in the last days?

12 MarieP September 19, 2012 at 11:27 am

Stand up and loudly read 1 Timothy 2:12 several times.

Oh, wait just a minute… scratch that…

13 Dwight McKissic September 19, 2012 at 11:29 am

John, mine is a scriptural position, not a socially acceptable position. As a matter of fact my, position is out of the socially acceptable mainstream with many, if not most Southern Baptist.

14 Adam B. Embry September 19, 2012 at 11:31 am

We have a plurality of pastors, and so we never run short of preachers.

15 Dwight McKissic September 19, 2012 at 11:54 am

Adam, you invite a woman to preach because of her giftedness and calling, not because we “run short on preachers.”

16 Howell Scott September 19, 2012 at 11:54 am

Notwithstanding the fact the it is hard for me to listen to Beth Moore’s voice for more than five minutes at a time, I would stay and listen to the sermon. While I do not believe the Scripture permits women to serve as senior pastors (or elders if you prefer), I do not see where Scripture (including 1 Timothy 2:12) prohibits women from speaking — or preaching — in a church setting. One of the best sermons that I have ever heard was preached by Anne Graham Lotz at the Evangelism Conference of the BCNM a few years ago. I may not be at the point where Bro.Dwight is, but I would definitely not leave. I might have a chat with the pastor for how this was handled, but do that after the fact. Thanks and God bless,


17 Dwight McKissic September 19, 2012 at 12:14 pm


If women aren’t allowed to serve on church boards in many if not most SBC churches, should they be allowed to serve on SBC entity boards, if we are going to be consistent?

18 Adam B. Embry September 19, 2012 at 12:31 pm

We believe that when Paul speaks of Adam and Eve in 1 Timothy 2:11-15, he is not making a cultural reference, but a reference to the leadership structure for all of humanity and how that impacts church structure. So, we do not see his words as culturally bound to the 1st century. As a result, we would not invite a woman to preach.

19 Dwight McKissic September 19, 2012 at 12:48 pm

Adam, I see 1 Timothy 2: 11-15 simply saying that the doctrinal and authoritative positional teaching of the local church is to be determined by the Senior Pastor, who is to always be a male. As Howell states below, this verse does not prohibit a woman fro teaching under male authority. Now explain away I Corinthians 11, that allows a woman to prophesy in a co-ed setting with her “head covered” please? Paul, apparently invited an affirmed a woman speaking in this text?

20 Adam B. Embry September 19, 2012 at 1:02 pm

There are two prohibitions in the passage: not to teach and not to have authority over men in the church. The reason why these prohibitions are permanent is Paul’s use of creation language, namely, his use of the first couple. The context of 1 Timothy seems to indicate that part of the problem with the false teaching was that it encouraged egalitarianism in the biblical roles of men and women.

To be honest, I can’t improve upon Doug Moo’s article on this issue from 1 Timothy, as he addresses the issue you raise in your first sentence, and a host of misinterpretations, like yours, on this passage:

21 Chris Roberts September 19, 2012 at 1:28 pm

I’m stating that one passage does not undo another. Scripture is clear in the difference in roles and calling between men and women whereas a general reference to prophesy is not altogether clear on how that gift is utilized. Taking the clear commands of Scripture, prophesy does not mean teaching men in the church.

22 Chris Roberts September 19, 2012 at 1:31 pm


Excellent point.

23 David (NAS) Rogers September 19, 2012 at 1:47 pm

Because of my affirmation of inerrancy (which includes the concept that Scripture does not teach contradiction within itself) and the importance of taking the whole counsel of Scripture, I affirm in general principle that a woman can indeed preach to an assembly of the church. The issue of senior pastor of a congregation is a separate matter.

24 Howell Scott September 19, 2012 at 3:04 pm

Bro. Dwight,

In El Paso on hospital visit. More expanded answer later.
With your caveat of consistency, I would say yes. But there
is much about how some apply the rules in the SBC that is not
only inconsistent but hypocritical as well. Thanks and God bless,


25 Mark September 19, 2012 at 3:08 pm

All, thanks for the comments. I would probably walk out or be pulled out by my wife. I line-up very much with Chris, Adam, Andrew and John on this issue. In no way do I see my position as stemming from traditionalism or sexism. As far allowing a woman to preach under a senior pastor, I don’t find that as biblically tenable primarily because I don’t find the position of “senior pastor” in the Bible.

Since preaching is a form of teaching then 1 Timothy 2:12 should have some application in this situation.

26 Howell Scott September 19, 2012 at 10:05 pm


Thanks for an interesting ethics problem. Since you stated that you would probably walk out or be pulled out by your wife, let me ask you whether or not the issue is that Beth Moore would be speaking at all in a worship service or the fact that she was “preaching the morning sermon?” Do you believe that 1 Timothy 2:12 mandates a literal silence on the part of women within a worship service? Would this include those who might sing in a choir or a praise team? Or, is the problem related to women teaching? Could a woman give a testimony and not run afoul of 1 Timothy 2:12? What public role (i.e., using their voices) should women have within the local church during a worship service? Thanks and God bless,


27 Mark September 20, 2012 at 10:27 am

Hi Howell,

It is the preaching in particular as the reason we’d probably walk out. I do not agree that 1 Tim. 2:2 applies to the areas within your questions that fall outside teaching and authority. It seems that Paul’s words that “rather, she is to remain quiet” should be understood within the context of itself, that is, “I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man.”

Why would you separate the verse as if Paul is speaking to circumstances other than teaching and authority within the given context?

28 David (N September 20, 2012 at 10:28 am

Here, I believe, is an interesting hypothetical scenario. Mary the mother of Jesus is at an assembly of believers. She is asked by someone to speak. She speaks what has been labelled the Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55). Is this merely devotional? Is this merely testimonial? Does it speak any theology? Any Christology? If there is theology within it how would it not be “teaching”? How many Southern Baptist pastors would let Mary the mother of Jesus speak in the assembly what we have as Scripture?

29 Howell Scott September 20, 2012 at 2:42 pm


Thanks for the reply and the question. The reason that I would be inclined to interpret the verse as allowing a woman to preach and/or teach on a Sunday morning is that I believe that Paul is talking about someone preaching or teaching within the context of them being the teaching/preaching pastor. Therefore, in context, a woman, by preaching or proclaiming the word or testifying (or whatever else we might want to describe it as) can do so in a worship service, but not in the role of excercising authority It’s been a while since I read it, but an article or sermon by John Piper comes to the conclusion that Paul is speaking in these verses of women not being able to serve as a pastor/teacher, not that women could not speak or otherwise teach if it was not connected with that particular Biblical office. As to whether I would be comfortable with a woman “preaching,” I would definitely not be. However, I still don’t think I would get up and walk out in the hypothetical that you envisioned. Thanks and God bless,


30 bruce mercer (@johnmark19) September 20, 2012 at 9:22 pm

dwight, traditionalism? it’s God’s word. maybe Jesus could be jessica? since when do we change God’s word to be culturally accepted?

31 Dwight McKissic September 21, 2012 at 4:20 pm

David (N

I sure would love to see Chris Roberts, Andrew Wencil and Mark weigh in on this question. What an insightful,thought provoking, and “cutting to the chase” question. The answers to your question will be better than watching the last episode of “Dallas.” Who shot J. R.? You may not be old enough to have the foggiest idea of what I’m talking about.


32 David (NAS) Rogers September 21, 2012 at 4:42 pm

I accidentally hit the Post Comment button too soon. My actual name is David (Not Adrian’s Son, or NAS) Rogers. I note the non-relation to Dr. Adrian Rogers not because of any desire to distance myself from him merely only to make sure that the better known “David Rogers” is not tainted by any of my comments.

While my question is hypothetical, I do indeed believe it is absolutely relevant and should be answered. At some point Mary’s “prophetic proclamation” which contains profound applicational understandings of Christology had to cross the gender boundaries. While originally delivered woman to woman, at some point this proclamation crossed the gender divide and was transmitted to an individual male or to an assembly of believers who then transmitted it to Luke. It may be entirely possible that Mary may have told it (taught it) to Luke himself.

I would like to see how her proclamation cannot be considered to be theological and thus being removed from the teaching category. And even with that I don’t see how devotional, testimonial, or ethical instruction could be entirely separated from the category of teaching. She actually appears to be the first fully historically aware Christologian.

P.S. I’m 48 and well aware of ol’ J.R. Ewing.

33 Andrew Wencl September 21, 2012 at 6:13 pm

She’s reciting Scripture. I don’t think your scenario makes much of a point.

34 David (NAS) Rogers September 21, 2012 at 7:49 pm

I encourage you to re-read the passage. This is more than recitation of Scripture. She is chaining several Scriptures and theological concepts together (a theological task in itself) and also contextualizing these Scriptures with regard to her condition. She is remarking that her pregnancy is more than just the blessing of an ordinary woman being with child, this event is the culmination of the beginning of the hope of redemption for the ages. This is theology at its most basic. This is the first act of historically aware Christology in actual timing of the event. I would like someone to dismiss these conclusions with some detail.

Would you let her speak this theological presentation to an assembly?

35 David (NAS) Rogers September 21, 2012 at 8:28 pm

P.P.S. Thanks for the encouragement.

36 Andrew Wencl September 22, 2012 at 8:01 am


Your hypothetical is not helpful. For one, the Magnificat is a poem/song, hardly worth calling a “sermon” or “teaching” in the context we’re discussing. Second, by the time she would recite it in an assembly of believers, it would have been either an oral tradition being passed around by the early church or a piece of written Scripture. I’ve never suggested that women can never speak in an assembly of believers or that women can never share their insights or formulate theological statements. But your example could hardly be compared to what Mark, Chris, others, and I are talking about regarding women teaching men and exercising authority in the church.

37 David (NAS) Rogers September 22, 2012 at 3:42 pm

I don’t know if this will format correctly. This is in reply to Andrew Wencl’s Sept. 22, 8:01 am reply.

Her poem/song is “hardly worth calling a ‘sermon'”? The issue is whether it communicates theology.If someone communicates theology to another person, I can’t see how it doesn’t mean “teaching.” Formalized sermons are not the only forms of teaching. The issue is whether someone can learn anything theological, ethical, attitudinal from what another communicates. Are you saying you learn no theology from a poem/song? I’m sure you don’t dismiss the Psalms or Proverbs as not “teaching” anything due to their poetic nature.

If she recites it to a man, the very recitation of it is teaching theology. You either have to say there is nothing theological in it, or you would have to say that this bit of inspired Scripture came to us through a woman speaking it to another woman and it was at some point heard by a man from a woman (either Mary, Elizabeth, or another woman) at one time but a woman isn’t allowed to speak it (the poem which TEACHES theology) to a male in an assembly at a later time.

I think you have strained and contorted the meaning of “teaching”.

38 Andrew Wencl September 23, 2012 at 8:02 am


Your point then, is that we complementarians are inconsistent. Here’s the problem: you’re basing this allegation off of a misrepresentation of the complementarian position on the 1 Timothy passage and a hypothetical situation that squares with this misrepresentation but is really a non-issue in complementarian view. I’d rather you just use Scripture to argue that we’re inconsistent than stoop to misrepresenting my views. I won’t continue to engage in discussion with someone who so blatantly misrepresents my position. It’s an exercise in futility.

39 David (NAS) Rogers September 23, 2012 at 3:07 pm


I’ve re-read what I have said and am very perplexed where I have “misrepresented” your views.

I’ve made a use of Scripture to argue my point. I’ve concluded that Mary’s speech contains theology and thus would be an act of teaching when spoken to another. You’ve called it recitation of Scripture, a poem/song, not a sermon, not a teaching in the context spoken of here. I retorted that I need instruction on how it is indeed not a teaching since I claim she is making theological points and telling them to another and thus meeting a most basic definition of teaching. Is this equivalent to a Beth Moore sermon? Not exactly, but it is a teaching that comes from a woman, and I’m asking whether Mary would be allowed to make it in your assembly with males present, if that was possible.

I have challenged you not misrepresented you. You can charge that I’ve misunderstood you, and that I’m incorrigible, but saying that I’ve distorted your views to others is a rather bold charge against my reputation.

I politely request that the charge be explicated in detail.


40 Andrew Wencl September 23, 2012 at 9:33 pm


I highly doubt that your reputation is in much danger because of this comment stream. No need to be overly dramatic. Regarding the misrepresentation, you have suggested that the complementarian view as held by Mark, Chris, and myself does not allow for women to make any audible contribution to the gathered church. That is not true. You are saying that complementarians understand the word “teach” in such a broad sense that pretty much any spoken word that requires some thought to comprehend would qualify as “teaching.” We do not have such a broad understanding of the word. Even if we did, the burden would still be on your side to prove how “teach” is used in such a limited sense as to mean “hold the office of pastor.”

If you care to engage complementarians on this issue at all, I suggest you deal with our views as we present them, not as you would like to caricature them.

41 David (NAS) Rogers September 24, 2012 at 1:27 am

I wrote a detailed reply, but it got eaten somehow.

So now I’ll just say that you told me exactly what I didn’t say exactly how I didn’t say it. You wrote down exactly what I didn’t write exactly how I didn’t write it. You typed it exactly what I didn’t type exactly how I didn’t type it.

Extra points for anyone who can identify from what and whom I borrowed the above phrasing.

Drama Dave


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